Walter R. Tolbert

No Image of the Agent Available
Date of Birth: 
Date of Death: 
February 22, 1928
Location of Death: 
Columbia County, GA

Circumstances of Death

Prohibition Agent Walter Red Tolbert and local officers W. S. Harrison and D. T. Fuller planned to raid an illicit distillery about five miles south of Harlem, GA.  As they approached the distillery, they were observed by still hands, all of whom quickly ran away.  Agent Tolbert and the officers then proceeded to destroy the distillery.  Sometime later as the officers were departing the area in their Government vehicle, they came under fire from ambush.  Agent Tolbert stepped out of the vehicle to take cover, and was immediately shot and killed.  Six suspects were later taken into custody.  One, Burley Adams, confessed to the killing.  Adams attempted to use a unique defense at trial by claiming that he was actually trying to kill Officer Harrison and not Agent Tolbert.


Agent Tolbert joined the Bureau of Prohibition on May 13, 1927, with an annual salary of $1,860.


Agent Tolbert was born in South Carolina.  He was single and survived by his parents, who resided in Charleston, SC.

Associated Artifacts: 
Image of a newspaper article with headline, Burley Adams Makes Confession
Image of Walter R. Tolbert's Service Record Card document
Image of Walter R. Tolbert's certificate of death
Last Reviewed September 23, 2016